5 Best Practices to Secure Healthcare Data

As it stands, there are many laws and regulations regarding the protection of healthcare data and more specifically the data about the patients involved. Yet, the measures employed by healthcare providers for this protection are ineffective as nearly all providers have experienced some kind of data breach. Since such data breaches have been known to cause losses, there needs to be a change of tactic to better protect confidential files.

So, here are the five best practices you need to follow in the pursuit of safer documentation of your records.

  1. Encrypt the Data
Encrypting the data is one of the first measures you should employ. It ensures that only a select few who have the decryption key to a particular file can access it. This is where administrative controls come in as you choose who should get the decryption keys (these are normally in the form of passwords).

However, you must carefully consider the encryption you use as there are various password recovery or cracking tools are designed to break the passwords. Luckily, by using a strong password (16 characters or more) and AES 256-bit encryption, the chances of anyone breaking the password or attacking the algorithm will be significantly minimized as the computational power required for such a feat is currently unavailable.

  1. Control Portable Mobile Devices
This is easier said than done. How can you stop everyone in the hospital from bringing their mobile phones to work? What about memory cards and flash drives?  These are all potential risk factors as they can be used to carry confidential data out of the front door.

Fortunately, you do not need to worry about this as long as you have locked document use to the hospital premises. However, this is only possible when you use a document DRM system for your security needs. In essence, a document DRM system will allow employees to use the data they need while they are in their offices, cubicles or even attending to a patient.  However, once they leave the building the documents will no longer be accessible.

Using a document DRM system you can also lock documents to devices so they cannot be shared with others or moved to a device you have not authorized.

  1. Delete Data Periodically
As long as you need the information, you can keep it. But having too much data means more data is at risk. So, you need to check for redundant data periodically both on your company’s devices and on your employees’ devices.

Without the use of a document DRM system, this would require a lot of labor.  Document DRM however enables you to automatically revoke access after a given period of time or use by setting expiry dates. Once the date has come to pass, the document becomes inaccessible and unusable to all parties and it is, therefore, the same as the file being deleted.

  1. Educate Staff on Data Protection Best Practices
The most significant source of data leaks is the staff.  They might leave their offices in a hurry with a sensitive document open on their desktops.  This could enable an unauthorized person to see the information and potentially leak it to someone else.  The staff may also make too many print copies of confidential information or send it via email.  Such mistakes could be the cause of a data breach and the consequences that follow involve a lack of trust by the patients.

You could avoid all this by holding a training session every so often where you show and tell the staff how they should handle data.

  1. Secure the Company Network
One of the problems associated with the digital age is the internet. Even though the internet can be a great benefit, it can also be a cause of concern. This is because a hacker can access your hospital files from thousands of miles away which makes it difficult to catch him or her once the deed is done.

So, it is important to secure your data and your internal network beforehand. This means you should install the right firewalls and add the right antivirus software. Even then, it will probably not be enough to keep hackers at bay. You should also have a strong IT team who can recognize and deal with security problems as they arise.


Once you follow these five best practices to the letter, it will be hard for you as a healthcare provider to have your data stolen. As a result, you, your patients, and the government can rest easy. So, implement them as soon as possible.

How do you secure healthcare data?  Have you ever explored using a document DRM system? Do you’ve any questions? Please feel free to leave your comments below, we’d love to hear from you.
Also Read: Interesting Healthcare Gadgets

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